Follow up self assessment

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After the interview, do you feel like a fish-out-of-the-water? Image by Briarmelle Quintessa. CC By

Following an interview, take a few moments to sit down and review the conversation you have just had with an interviewer. Write notes to yourself about the interview in order to make improvements the next time you are interviewed.
Ask yourself these questions:
• Did I ask the interviewer when the hiring decision will be made concerning the job, and how to contact them to follow up?

If you did not, be sure to ask that question in the thank you letter, or better yet, call the interviewer and politely ask

• What questions did I have difficulty answering? For those questions, explore why you had difficulty. Which specific areas need further preparation?
• What questions did I answer well? Why?
• What questions made me feel uncomfortable? Why?
• Each employer is looking for that specific someone to fill a position. Do I have the skills and ability to fill that niche? If not, what areas of training or education would I need to fulfil those requirements?
• Did I learn enough about the job?

What are the job requirements – physical, mental, required hours and days for the job, clothing and appearance, responsibilities and duties?
Who would I be working with and reporting to?
Who are the customers? How would I relate to them?
What is the pay and what are the benefits? Breaks? Vacations?
What is an “average day” on this particular job?
Why is the job vacant? It could be that the working conditions or job demands are unreasonable
What is the working environment like – indoors, outdoors, clean, dirty, organised, disorganised, continually busy, slack periods, hard or easy physically, mentally challenging, dealing with individual customers or large numbers of people, dealing with adults or children, etc.?
What is the company culture like – relaxed, tense, inclusive, exclusive, dynamic, diverse, etc.?
What are the opportunities for advancement? Training?
If you find that you have many unanswered questions, make a list to be sure to ask them in future interviews.

• Have I examined my strengths and weaknesses honestly? Did the questions the interviewer asked show that I need more skills or training?
• Is my CV accurate? In what areas can I improve it? Did the interviewer ask questions that I should have indicated on the CV?
• In what areas do I need further preparation of the next interview? Here are some tips for practise:

Physical presentation –
Physical presentation –
Was I appropriately dressed?
How did I look compared to the other interviewees?
How did I look compared to other employees already working for the company?
Based upon your answers, review your dress and appearance and make the necessary changes for future interviews
Question answering - thinking on my toes -
Practise standing in front of mirror, to gain poise and confidence, and have a friend ask typical interview questions
It doesn’t hurt to write out the questions and answers - this practise will ingrain your answers in our mind to make them clear and organised
Speech (hems, pauses, repeating words such as “like”, and “you know”)
Give a three minute speech about yourself into a tape recorder and then listen
Is it clear, organized, without stops or gaps?
Are your answers to the point, and do they meet the needs of the employer?
Preparing for awkward and difficult questions
Review Guidelines 5 to 10 - Interview Types and Stages, Employer Expectations, Key Communication Skills, Interview ‘Do’s, Interview ‘Don’t’s, and especially Difficult Questions and Legal Rights
When in doubt, write out answers to awkward questions to be sure you have a clear, honest answer
Have I written a thank you note, or phoned, to thank the interviewer?
Include a business card or personal card if you have one
You might consider sending a small photograph to remind the interviewer who you were - this should be a simple photograph of only you, dressed in business attire
See below for a sample thank you letter

Here are some typical reasons people do not get hired:
• A poor personal appearance
• Being overly aggressive
• An inability to express information clearly – poor communication skills
• Lack of interest, enthusiasm, tact, or courtesy
• Lack of planning for a career - no purpose or goal
• Nervousness, lack of confidence and poise
• Overemphasis on money
• Unwillingness to start at the bottom of a company and work upwards
• Lack of maturity
• Negative attitude about past employers
• No genuine interest in the employer or job
• No eye contact with the interviewer
• Incomplete or sloppy application form
• No sense of humour
• Arriving late for the interview
• Failure to express appreciation for the interviewer's time
• Failure to ask questions about the job
• Vague responses given to questions
• No follow-up with thank you note or phone call

Sample Thank You Letter

2233 First Street

September 20, 2009

Mr. James Business
Human Resources Manager
ABC Company
111 Employment Way

Dear Mr. Business

Thank you for the opportunity this morning to discuss the secretarial position. Our conversation gave me a better understanding of ABC Company and the requirements of the job. The additional information from Max and Katherine was helpful in gaining a better perspective of the position. My strong office and interpersonal skills will definitely make a contribution to your company. I am proficient in all the computer software packages you use, and I feel I possess the customer service experience you want.

I enjoyed meeting the office staff and touring the facility. This is clearly a quality organisation with an emphasis on efficiency and a dedication to teamwork. I would consider it a privilege to join your team and will contact you next week to inquire about the hiring decision.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours sincerely